Google has been adding the insides of buildings to its Google Maps Street View for years now, and Google Arts & Culture (the program that brought you “find your art doppelgänger”) has been collecting all kinds of art you can see on Street View: Museums, famous architecture, street art, and art exhibits that already closed in real life. Here’s the guide to Google’s virtual art collection.
iOS/Android: If your Facebook feed has been littered this week with pictures of people comparing themselves to portraits in museums, you aren't alone. The meme started with people who actually found art on their own that happened to look like them and has now extended to people posting pictures of art that sort of kind of looks like them if you look at if from far away and squint a little bit.
The Street View gallery on Google Arts & Culture collects the best click-and-drag tours of famous art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Getty Museum and the Uffizi Galleries, as well as history museums, landmarks and natural features.
Google has collected six now-closed temporary exhibits in a Street View gallery, a perfect use of Street View to immerse you in ways that flat photos could not, to experience large art installations that have since been dismantled. You can walk along Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s orange floating piers in northern Italy, wander 36 Paris apartments done over by graffiti artists shortly before demolition, or stare up at Kara Walker’s Marvellous Sugar Baby.
Among its collections of street art (mostly presented as traditional photo galleries), Google Arts & Culture includes a series of painted water towers in Street View, which let you view the rooftop towers in their urban contexts. Interestingly, it seems as though some of the featured water towers have disappeared, and the embedded Street Views show new construction while the narration goes on about an artwork that has disappeared, both in real life and on Google.
Another Google street art project includes several street view tours of murals and graffiti. This collection is slowly succumbing to link rot too, as the internet slowly decays like any real-world ruins. Ars longa, interneta brevis.